How Does Your Cheese Melt?

We love the ooey-gooey – that melty delight that is fondue, grilled cheese, and everything in-between. But in your own cheesy experimentation you’ve probably noticed how some cheeses just aren’t as up to turning melty as others. It doesn’t mean we love them any less (I mean, who doesn’t love that crispy crust of Parmesan on a Chicken Parm?) but we know they’re just different. Have you ever wondered why? Don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you, Cheesers.

First things first, it’s all about the fat! The fat and water ration in cheese determines how it is going to melt. So something that is higher in moisture is usually going to be a better melter than a drier alternative. That’s because the protein structure (which is what keeps the water and fat separated) is looser in high moisture cheeses, and very rigid in dry ones. 

So when heat is applied to most cheeses, the fat globules change from solid to liquid, which is when it starts getting that ooey gooey consistency. The protein structure loosens its grip under the heat, and the cheese begins to flow like a thick liquid rather than a solid – think of dripping, delightful fondue, and you’ll have the right idea in your head!

This is why age isn’t just a number when it comes to melting cheese – the age actually means a lot! Freshly made cheeses don’t have that maturity level yet, with their proteins tightly wound up. As they gain a little bit more time, the proteins loosen up, and create a more open matrix (think of it as a net that holds all the water and fat). That matrix is flexible, which is why they melt smoothly and don’t break. But if it ages too much, those proteins tighten up into tough clumps – that’s where that crispy cheese comes in.

So the best melters are a combo of age and moisture – Emmentaler, Gruyere, Comte, they are all well aged, with a flexible protein net. Their high moisture helps separate the proteins without breaking them completely, which allows them to flow into stringy, ooey-gooey meltiness. It totally makes your mouth water just thinking about it, right? Science is so much funner when it’s delicious.

You can hit up some of our favorite melters and get started on your own grilled cheese, fondue, and other cheesy experiments! 

The Make Our Melt Finalists!

How has your grilled cheese month been? As the gooey goodness keeps coming, the thought of this blessed month ending brings tears to my eyes. With one more week to go, it’s time to

The Guido

announce the three finalists in the “Make Our Melt” contest! We had some great entries, and choosing was not easy. Our process was thorough, and the three finalists have been selected!


The Guido
–  Cheddar and Pancetta, sounds pretty good right? Supper melty cheddar with an intense porky-ness. But it gets 
better… Slathered with tomato pesto and basil aioli, this guy brings grilled cheese to a new level. Thanks, Allyson Taylor!

Give Me A Beet

Give me a Beet– All that I can say is WOW. I had my doubts, but this sandwich really brings it. Mozzarella and Capri (a very fresh goat cheese) topped with Arugula and beets. I can’t think of a better way to welcome spring. Great job, Kristen Suzon Butler!

The Hammy Grammy– Cheddar and apples are a classic, but thrown in a grilled cheese, it’s a whole new level of goodness. It sounds simple, but the grassy, earthy flavors of Bandaged cheddar really come alive when melted. Good luck, Keith Roberts

The Hammy Grammy

Now that we have our finalist we need your help picking a winner. Through Saturday, all three sandwiches will be featured as specials on our melts menu for $6.99. On Sunday from 3PM-4PM we will be sampling all three melts in store, and collecting votes. You can also vote on facebook here. On Monday we will announce the winner, who will win a $50 gift card, and a spot on the menu. Good luck finalists!

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!

Happy National Grilled Cheese day! This is the Holiest of Holy cheese holidays, naturally we take it very seriously at Murray’s.

The history of the modern grilled cheese sandwich is scattered through American, and global history. While we cannot pinpoint the first grilled cheese sandwich, incarnations have existed since at least the early 20th century. Often called “melted cheese” sandwiches, recipes proliferated the American cookbook scene, however it was not until mass produced pre sliced bread, and the development of Kraft sliced cheese that the grilled cheese sandwich really infiltrated the American food lexicon. The great depression, as well as the continued American desire for fast and easy food led for melted bread sandwiches to become increasingly popular, so much that in 1949 James Beard published a recipe for a Toasted Cheese Sandwich.

Thank god we have moved passed the days of rubbery cheese between flavorless bread. The latest incarnations of grilled cheese focus on quality and experimentation. With the wide variety of cheeses and accoutrements that we have at Murray’s, I rarely find myself eating the same sandwich twice. I take my sandwich diversity so seriously that I’ve developed a formula of sorts:

Melting Cheese + Meat + Accoutrement + Bread (2) = Gooey Goodness

And now we need your help creating the next big grilled cheese sensation. Murray’s Melts is working on a spring menu, and your recipe could be on it. Through April 14th (just 2 more days!) make sure to post your favorite grilled cheese recipe on our Facebook page, or email them to leo@murrayscheese.com. Full details can be found at www.Murrayscheese.com/makeourmelt.

Want to make a killer grilled cheese at home, but don’t have all of the supplies? Order one of our Murray’s Melts Packs, and get everything you need delivered right to your door!

Whatever you do, just make sure to celebrate Grilled Cheese Month in style.

Melts Recipes

MURRAY’S BREAKFAST MELT 

with Fontina Fontal and Nueske’s Bacon from the Murray’s Melts Pack

Click here to see Liz Thorpe making our Breakfast Melt on Martha Stewart

Cook bacon in your preferred method – we cook it in the oven for maximum crispness and minimal greasiness.

Place English muffin split-side down on your skillet or griddle — cook until toasted. Turn and top each half with a slice of cheese. Reduce heat, cover, and cook until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Melt butter in your skillet or griddle; crack egg onto melted butter and cook until whites are set; flip and top egg with a slice of cheese.  Cook until it’s done for you (runny or set).

Transfer the fried egg to your muffin, top with bacon and the other half of the muffin.  Devour and enjoy!

BCT – BACON, CHEESE & TOMATO

with Aggiano, Fontina and Bacon from the Murray’s Melts Pack

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMTE

with Comte from the Murray’s Melts Pack

MONGER FAVORITES… no instructions required!

  • Fontina Fontal & Caramelized Onions (Michele)
  • Gruyere with Fennel & Curry Mayo (Andrew)
  • Pepperjack on white bread (Nick)
  • Cheddar, apple and bacon – use yellow cheddar and mix in some Cabot Clothbound (Sascha)
  • Egg, bacon, tomato, avocado and any Alpine melter like Gruyere (Josie)
  • Bacon, tomato and a mix of Gruyere and Fontina Fontal (Liz) + a cup of Murray’s tomato soup (Mike)
  • Brie, Jambon Royal, Cornichons, and Dijon (aka the Frenchie at Murray’s)
  • Pepperjack, Tasso Ham & caramelized onions (Jason)

Our Grilled Cheese Secrets (sshhh, don’t tell anyone)

From Steve Millard, Master Melter / Bleecker Store Director

Bread: Use either really good thick cut bread, like sourdough Pullman cut ½â€ thick.  Or go the other end with really cheap sandwich bread.

Butter: Butter is paramount to a superb grilled cheese sandwich.  I recommend Vermont Butter and Cheese sea salt butter.  Let the butter sit at room temperature for at least an hour to soften.  Spread an even coat of butter on the bread — not too much to make it greasy, and not too little to not even matter.

Cheese: Any cheese will melt, but not every cheese will make a delicious grilled cheese.  Look for alpine-style, melting, cheddar styles – here are a few great ones.  Generally speaking, blue cheeses do not make for good grilled cheese sandwiches.  Hard, Grana-style cheeses will work as an added flavor, but should not be the main cheese.  If you’re in  a hurry, soft cheeses like Brie and any cheese that you first shred will take less time to melt.

Think in terms of flavor combinations and what sort of grilled cheese sandwich you want to make.  You can add meats, vegetables, caramelized onions, roasted peppers, jams, relish, pickles, etc. to any grilled cheese.

Method: Cook on a flat surface. A panini press works the best at about 400 degrees.  A flat surface griddle will also work – just use some weight (such as another pan) to press the sandwich on the griddle.  Whether you’re using a press or a griddle, flip the sandwich half way to ensure even toasting.  The bread should be adequately toasty and not greasy.  Don’t rush the sandwich: 4-5 minutes will make for a sublime grilled cheese that will have wonderfully melted cheese and perfectly toasty bread.

Add-ons: Chips, tomato soup and a crisp, bubbly beverage.  I love GuS Dry Soda — soda helps cleanse the pallet and make each bite the more enjoyable.   Of course, beer is a perfect combination, I like a Pale Ale with a nice hoppy kick.